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After graduating from UC Berkeley with parallel
degrees in Computer Science and Music, I worked on Smalltalk
virtual machines at ParcPlace Systems, a
spinoff from Xerox PARC (and now part of Cincom Systems). I later
Games, where I applied object-oriented system concepts to the
design of platform-independent content development tools, using VisualWorks
Smalltalk, for composers in the arcade audio group. This
allowed me to expand my skills in large-scale object modeling and
human interface design. From Atari I went to Interval
Research. I contributed to several projects there, in areas
such as digital sound synthesis, consumer filmmaking, and home
networking. I wrote embedded real-time system software, derived from
Squeak Smalltalk, for a home media
network system which later became MediaWire. That
project demonstrated concepts later seen in products such as AirPlay
and the iPad.
I then went to the IBM T.J. Watson Research
Center, developing a theory of human cognition and designing
embodied systems with Squeak to test it. After that I
worked for Bedarra Research Labs on the OpenAugment project,
preserving the legacy of Doug Engelbart's
Augment system. I later worked with Engelbart and the
Bootstrap Institute (now the Doug Engelbart Institute)
directly, on the version of Augment that Doug used in his everyday
work. I have worked for Applied Minds and EZBoard, and at Weather
Dimensions with original Smalltalk implementor Dan Ingalls. I
did mixed-reality research with Croquet virtual worlds at the
Palo Alto Laboratory. I continued working with Croquet for
commercial applications at Teleplace. I developed
cloud-based support for large in-world crowds, and streaming media
connectivity with the outside world. Most recently, I formed an
independent consultancy in the Netherlands, and I volunteer for the Appsterdam community. I divide
my time between Amsterdam and Berkeley.
I have developed frameworks for
building distributed object applications, for manipulating various
forms of digital media, and for developing object systems
themselves. I specialize in rapid prototyping and reverse
engineering. I also play a mean theremin. I serve on the Squeak board
of directors, and perform in the live music scenes of Amsterdam and
If you're not familiar with Smalltalk, I encourage you to read a bit
about it. It's a programming language that pursues conceptual continuity through pervasive application of a
simple idea ("message sending"), achieving an extremely useful
degree of expressive power and flexibility. I'm attracted primarily to
its dynamism. I build systems with it that can be explored and
changed as they run. This is commonly known as "livecoding". Smalltalk propagates many notable
concepts (e.g., object-oriented programming, unit testing, design
patterns, the MVC paradigm), is a major influence where those ideas
has lively open-source and commercial communities around it. It's the
intersection of those concepts and my goals which is important to me,
not Smalltalk per se.
I'm interested in positions with which I can apply my
expertise in (one or more of) object modeling, object databases, human
interface design, networking, distributed systems, 3D graphics, film
scoring, and audio/video recording and editing. I'd like to maintain
my home base in Amsterdam (I have many connections to Silicon Valley
as well, and live there for two months each year), and I'm willing to
travel up to half-time. I am willing to consider both consultant and
1/2011 to the present
Founder of Black Page Digital, an independent
consultancy in Amsterdam. I produce prototypes for multiple private
clients, and new releases of Context, a minimal version of Squeak with a novel
approach to teaching, collaboration, and deployment.
4/2009 to 8/2010
Smalltalk developer for Teleplace, a producer of
enterprise learning and collaboration systems using virtual worlds. I
developed support for large in-world crowds, incorporating distributed
operation of the Teleplace client and server in the Amazon
EC2 cloud. I also developed connectivity with the outside
world via streaming media, with in-world cameras, spatialized audio,
and RTP. The system is built with the Croquet virtual worlds
8/2007 to 3/2009
Smalltalk developer for the Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Laboratory. I
was part of a team conducting mixed-reality research using Croquet virtual worlds. I
developed physical I/O hardware interfaces and designed user
interfaces for them. I reverse-engineered several network protocols
and file formats. Our most prominent project was developing a system
for remotely monitoring and visualizing physical processes at the TCHO
chocolate factory in San Francisco. I worked with Arduino boards, the
MAKE Controller Kit, Phidgets, and the Wiimote, along with a multitude
3/2004 to 2/2008
Smalltalk developer for EZBoard. EZBoard was host to
thousands of web-based discussion forums, serving millions of
customers daily, using VisualWorks Smalltalk. From 2005, I was the
sole Smalltalk developer for the site.
9/2006 to 12/2006
Adapted the 1995 Windows version of the Augment system to
current Windows, Macintosh, and Linux systems, for the Bootstrap
Institute (now the Doug Engelbart Institute).
12/2004 to 12/2006
System software architect at Weather
Dimensions. Weather Dimensions is a startup company founded by
Dan Ingalls, the original implementor of Smalltalk; it produces
high-quality personal weather stations. I coordinated the
commercialization of the technology, and developed future versions of
the visual interface.
3/2005 to 4/2005
Computer scientist at Applied Minds, an
engineering research firm founded by Danny Hillis and Bran Ferren. I
worked on a tuple database system for real-time sensor data collection.
10/2003 to 4/2004
System software architect at Bedarra Research Labs
(contract). Designed the distribution architecture for the OpenAugment project, a re-creation
Engelbart's Augment system using open-source technologies
(so as to make it more accessible to future developers). Augment (also
known as NLS) was the system Engelbart used in the "mother of all
demos" at the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference. This was the
historic demo in which Engelbart introduced the computer mouse and
pointer system, the graphical user interface, display editing, file
linking and embedding, multiple windows, context-sensitive help,
integrated text and graphics, hyper-documents, and two-way
video-conferencing with shared workspaces. Our implementation used Squeak, and
distributed module system I wrote for it.
5/2000 to 5/2002
Computer scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research
Center (contract). Co-developed a theory of human
cognition. Designed a Squeak-based system for the interactive
specification of the physiological expression of emotion by automata,
including facial animation, speech recognition and speech
synthesis. Built user interfaces with the Morphic and MVC
frameworks. Assisted in a port of Squeak to Windows CE. Taught CS377B (Dynamic
Multimedia with Squeak) at Stanford University's Center for
Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), in the autumn
quarter of 2001, as visiting lecturer.
5/1996 to 1/2000
Member of Research Staff at Interval
Research Corporation of Palo Alto, CA. Interval was an
incubator for high-tech companies specializing in digital technology
used by everyday people. I worked predominantly on the MediaWire
home media network system; developing the networking portions of a
novel embedded, real-time operating system, derived from Squeak
Smalltalk, which ran on custom hardware. Implemented a streaming
framework for Squeak which unifies access to diverse external
resources, including TCP/UDP, filesystems, and MIDI. Assisted in
custom virtual machine development and maintenance, using
platform-dependent code-generation tools and Squeak's
platform-independent virtual machine simulator. Contributed to several
other Interval projects, in areas such as digital sound synthesis and
11/1993 to 4/1996
Member of the Technology Group at Atari
Games Corporation of Milpitas, CA. Designed and implemented an
audio content development system for the arcade games division. I
wrote the system with VisualWorks Smalltalk; it was
platform-independent with regard to both composer and target
platforms. The system generated the game-dependent sources of a
real-time embedded audio operating system (written in C and
assembler). It provided a composer-oriented interface to the diverse
data structures used in producing interactive game audio. It was used
for several games.
4/1993 to 11/1993
Member of the software development group at Ascent
Logic Corporation of San José, CA. Participated in the
design and implementation of human interfaces for the company's
computer-assisted systems engineering product. Written with
Objectworks Smalltalk, the product was the largest commercial
Smalltalk application at the time.
3/1992 to 3/1993
Member of the Smalltalk engineering group at ParcPlace
Systems of Sunnyvale, CA (that group has since become part of Cincom
Systems, Inc., after having undergone reorganizations of ParcPlace
to ParcPlace/Digitalk and ObjectShare). Participated in
the implementation and release of the Objectworks and VisualWorks
Smalltalk systems for twelve platforms. Responsible for various
platform-specific areas of the Smalltalk virtual machine, and object
memory support, including programming tools and documentation.
selected publications, presentations, recordings, and films
"A Spoonful of Raspberry Pi", a presentation for the FOSDEM 2014 conference,
Brussels, Belgium. A video
of the talk is available.
"Spoon: straightforward collaborative development, deployment,
and discovery of Smalltalk apps", a presentation for the Appsterdam community, Amsterdam, Netherlands. A fly-through
of the slides is available.
Principal photography, scoring, editing, and post-production
for coverage of Appsterdam's iOSDevCamp 2012.
Music distributed by SoundCloud.
of the Quoth livecoding system, for the annual Sound and Video
Anthology of the Computer Music Journal, volume 35; MIT Press 2011.
"Musique Littérale", panel and performance using Quoth at the 2005 Transmediale
conference, Berlin, Germany.
"Spoon, a minimal yet extensible Smalltalk", presentation at
Smalltalk Solutions 2004, Seattle, Washington, USA.
N. Alvarado, S. S. Adams, S. Burbeck, C. Latta, "Beyond the
Turing Test: Performance Metrics for Evaluating a Computer Simulation
of the Human Mind", submission to the International Conference on
C. Latta, N. Alvarado, S. S. Adams, S. Burbeck, "An Expressive
System for Endowing Robots or Animated Characters with Affective
Facial Displays", accepted paper at the 2002 conference of the British
Society for Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behavior,
S. S. Adams, N. Alvarado, S. Burbeck, C. Latta, "Bootstrapping
Semantics in an Autonomic Computing System", submission to the
Workshop on Computational Semiotics
N. Alvarado, S. S. Adams, S. Burbeck, C. Latta, "Integrating
Emotion and Motivation into Intelligent Systems", submission to the
IBM Systems Journal.
"Handheld Squeak", invited talk at the 2001 European Smalltalk
Users' Group conference, Essen, Germany.
"Streaming Audio", in "Squeak: Open Personal Computing and
Multimedia", edited by Mark Guzdial and Kim Rose, Prentice-Hall, New
"Online Music Collaboration", invited panelist at the 1999
International Music eXposition conference, New York, USA.
"Notes From the NetJam Project", Leonardo Music Journal vol. 1
issue 1 (December), Permagon Press, London.
selected teaching experience
Quoth, a dynamic interactive
fiction authoring system operable from within the presented
virtual space (rather than before runtime in a traditional development
environment). I use it for live improvisational computer music
Context, a minimal and
modular Smalltalk system
Empirical determination and description of a minimal object
memory image and virtual machine. A module system for collaboration,
and the composition and deployment of applications, enabled by remote
messaging and distributed computation.
the Flow streaming framework
Development of an object model which provides consistent
message interfaces for the manipulation of diverse external resources,
including TCP/UDP, filesystems, and MIDI.
Participation in the evolution of the open-source Squeak
Smalltalk system from its initial release. Development of release
processes, assistance with project selection and advocacy. Context 4 is
currently scheduled to be Squeak 6.
Implementing a system for remote musical collaboration, using
the Flow streaming framework and Smalltalk.
My references are available by request.